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America 15, U.s. 12, Us 11, Wilmington 9, North Carolina 7, Dennis Kucinich 6, Jay Stroud 6, Perdue 5, India 5, Congressmember Kucinich 5, Amy Goodman 5, Jackson 4, Benjamin Chavis 3, Washington 3, Michigan 3, Yemen 3, Fisa 3, Obama 3, Michaels 3, Juan Gonzalez 3,
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  LINKTV    Democracy Now    News/Business. Independent global news hour featuring news  
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    December 28, 2012
    8:00 - 9:00am PST  

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12/28/12 12/28/12 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] >> from pacifica, this is "democracy now!" >> there is no justification to cut security benefits. no to throwing seniors of the fiscal cliff. no to a cat food christmas. >> as president obama meets with congressional leaders at the white house, we speak outgoing democratic congress member dennis kucinich abouthe so- called fiscal cliff and a bill to continue the controversial domestic surveillance program. then, will the government -- of nerve north carolina pardon the wilmington 10?
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>> it is not a secret an injustice has been done. now, governor perdue has an opportunity to right the wrong. we cannot go back to 1980. this is 2012. >> the north carolina governor is being urged to pardon a group of civil rights activists were falsely convicted and imprisoned 40 years ago for the firebombing of a white owned grocery store. the conviction wic overturned in 1980, but the state has never pardon them. we will speak with one of the wilmington 10 who served eight years behind bars and it became head of the naacp. all of that and more coming up. this is "democracy now!," democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman.
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president obama is set to meet with congressional leaders at the white house just three days before a year in deadline to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff. some $600 billion in automatic spending cuts and tax increases will take effect if no agreement is reached. obama and the rest of republicans remain of the impasse over the republican refusal to allow tax hikes even for the wealthiest americans. senate majority leader on thursday accused house speaker john boehner of holding up a deal. >> the american people i don't think understand the house representative is operating without the house of representatives. it is being operated with a dictatorship of the speaker, not allowing the vast majority of the house representatives to get what they want. >> adding to the urgency surrounding the talks, treasury secretary timothy geithner warned this week the u.s. will not be able to pay its creditors after monday unless the debt ceiling is raised.
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we will have more on the fiscal cliff talks, speaking with congressmember dennis kucinich after the headlines. environmental protection agency head lisa jackson has announced a resignation ahead of president obama's second term. jackson departs after a four- year tenure that saw advances in the regulation of environmentally harpo practices such as mountaintop removal and the emissions of harmful chemicals from industrial plants. it was marred by a number of key disappointments on environmental issues. president obama rejected jackson's proposal for tougher regulations on smog pollution last year, even though jackson submitted a proposal she viewed as a major compromise. she has recently tried to impose restrictions on carbon emissions from new power plants, drawing a concerted republican and corporate pushback. after ignoring global warming in the 2012 campaign, obama has recently vowed to address it during his second term. in a statement, the natural
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resources defense council called jackson an unrivaled champion of our health and environment adding -- thousands of dockworkers along the u.s. east coast and gulf coast are threatening to go on strike this weekend in a dispute over pay. the potential strike by the international longshoremen's association would effect nearly half of the country's ocean bound shipping traffic at 14 points -- ports and mark the first by the group in decades. president obama is facing calls from corporate groups to use emergency powers to rippon the strike. michigan governor rick snyder has signed into law a measure allowing michigan areas to declare bankruptcy or fall under the control of an unelected emergency manager enabled to fire public officials and nullify union contracts.
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state republicans approved it this month after voters repealed a similar initiative on election day. despite reimposing a measure that was rejected by popular vote, governor snyder said -- was among a number of controversial bills recently advanced by state republicans in michigan before their majority declines with a new legislative session next month. the chicago teachers union has filed a lawsuit accusing a city of discriminating against african-american teachers and staff through its effort to reform or shut down local schools. the federal suit says more than half of the tenured teachers who lost their jobs in the most recent wave of school closings were african-american, despite african-americans comprising just 30% of tenured teachers overall and 35% in the underperforming schools that wound up -- wind up being closed. the teachers' union is seeking
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an injunction to stop chicago mayor rahm emanuel from closing any more schools. the nra has confirmed plans to continue its campaign against a proposed u.n. treaty that would regulate the global arms trade. the general assembly voted to reopen negotiations after the obama administration help stonewall talks in july. speaking reuters, an nra spokesperson said the massacre in newtown, connecticut will not change their opposition to the treaty saying, "we are as opposed to it today as we were when it first appeared." the nra has vowed to oppose global arms regulation marking its second major policy announcement in the past week after responding to the newtown massacre with the karl for armed guards and by u.s. schools. some 200 teachers and utah attended a seminar sponsored by the pro-gun utah shooting sports council for free trading on the handling of firearms.
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new figures show publicly known u.s. drone strikes declined in pakistan this year while drastically increasing in yemen. according to the new america foundation, confirmed drone attacks fell to 46 from 72 in pakistan, while rising to 53 from 18 in yemen. the u.s. just recently admitted responsibility for a september attack in yemen that killed 11 civilians, including three children. rebels of the central african republic appeared to be on the verge of seizing control of the capital after taking at least 10 other towns. central african republic and president has urged foreign intervention from the u.s. and france to help him push back the rebel advance. the u.s. says it is a pact with its embassy as a precautionary safety measure. in india, a 17-year-old girl was gang raped has committed suicide after being pressured by police to drop the case and marry one
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of her attackers. the girl's death comes amidst growing national outrage over a spate of gang rapes ignored by india's police, including one on a public bus in delhi. on thursday, protests against rape in india continued nationwide. >> they are doing nothing about it. [indiscernible] it is unacceptable and completely humiliating. >> according to india's national crime registry, one woman is raped every 20 minutes in india. russian president vladimir putin has signed into law a ban on u.s. citizens adopting russian children. the ban is seen as a retaliatory move after president obama signed a law denying u.s. visas and bank accounts to russian officials linked to the death of imprisoned whistleblower sergei
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magnitsky. it will take effect january 1st and likely add a new strain to u.s.-russian ties. retired u.s. general norman schwarzkopf has died at the age of 78. known as stormin' norman, he headed the first gulf war in 1981 which killed up to 205,000 iraqis during the invasion and its aftermath and decimated iraqi infrastructure. the one of the wars must address incidents, he ordered u.s. forces to fire on the retreating and this armed iraqi forces along iraq's highway 80, causing hundreds of casualties and prompting the name highway of death. news of his death comes as former president george h.w. bush who awarded the first gulf war, is a houston hospital in intensive care after suffering bronchitis. those are some of the headlines. this is "democracy now!," democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. >> welcome to all our listeners and viewers from around the country and around the world.
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president obama is said to me today with congressional leaders at the white house just three days before year-end deadline to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff. obama and congressional republicans remain at an impasse over the republicans' refusal to allow tax hikes even for the wealthiest americans. if an agreement is not reached in time, $600 billion in automatic spending cuts and tax increases will go into effect on january 1. but the tax increases would not necessarily be permanent. the new congress could pass legislation to cancel them retroactively after it begins its work next year. >> while the so-called fiscal cliff has dominated the news headlines, the senate is also preparing to vote today to continue a controversial domestic surveillance program. in a blow to civil liberties advocates, the senate rejected three attempts thursday to add oversight and privacy safeguards to the foreign intelligence surveillance act.
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joining us from washington is democratic congressmember dennis kucinich. this is his last again congress after serving eight terms. since 1997, dennis kucinich has been a leading progressive voice on capitol hill, into these articles of impeachment against george w. bush, voted against the patriot act, and advocated for ending the war on drugs. dennis kucinich ran for president in 2004 and 2008, down to create a permanent peace. he is former mayor of cleveland, ohio. congressmember, welcome back to "democracy now!" >> thank you. >> your term would be over except you have been called back on sunday, right, to do with the fiscal cliff? >> i have been in washington waiting to see if congress would be called back into session, as it should be. there really is no legitimate reason why the country should be
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facing serious tax increases for ddle-class and also spending cuts that will further slow down the economy. we have made all of the wrong choices. we should be talking about jobs and more people involved in paying taxes. we should be talking about rebuilding america's infrastructure, china has gone ahead with high-speed trains and massive investment in infrastructure. instead, we're back to the same old arguments about taxes and spending without really looking at what we're spending. we just passed the national defense authorization act the other day, another $560 billion just for one year for the war machine. so we're focused on whether or not we will cut domestic programs now? are you kidding me? >> congressman, the recent election was seen by many as a
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mandate from the electorate to finally be able to tax the wealthiest americans, to deal with some of the deficit. your sense of whether president obama and your fellow democrats in the senate and house will stay the course on this or will eventually compromise in a way that many progressives would regret? >> first of all, we have a divided government. president obama's election said one message, the election of republican house of representatives since another. the actually, working at odds here. you have republicans who will not raise taxes for anyone making more than $250,000 a year, and looking at entitlement cuts. yet democrats that say you have any taxes for those who make under $250,000 and no cuts to
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the low-you had democrats as a you have no taxes for those -- no tax cuts for those making under $250,000. we're going the wrong direction. why have we been talking about stimulating the economy through jobs? we seem to accept a certain amount of unemployment as being necessary for the proper functioning of the economy, so that for corporations and will keep wages low. that is baloney. we are creating our own economic vice that is entrapping tens of millions of americans. i find it unacceptable. it is like this whole fiscal cliff thing is the creation of people who are unimaginative and locked in by special interests. >> congressmember kucinich, the issue of medicare and social security, what it means for president obama to so-called
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compromise on these issues. can you talk about that? >> there is no reason whatsoever to bring social security into this discussion. the fact the white house has done tt on numerous occasions should give everyone pause for concern. if social security has a problem down the road -- we have already talked about this -- you raised the caps on the in, accessible to social security. but you don't talk about cutting benefits. you don't talk about cutting cost-of-living increases through this cpi, which is just a way to force seniors into a lower standard of living over the long haul. we need the white house to stand up for social security and medicare. unfortunately, we're looking at the situation where because republicans want entitlements, as they like to call it, in the mix on any budget discussions, the white house has yielded.
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that may not happen in these negotiations in the next couple of days, but you have to watch what is happening in the 113th congress. we really have to decide who we are as a nation. we are spending more and more money for wars, more and more money for interventions abroad. we are spending more and more money for military buildups. we seem to be prepared to spend less and less on domestic programs and on job creation. this whole idea of a debt-based economic system is linked to a war machine. it is linked to wall street's concerns rather than main street's concerns. we need to shift back and get -- give the government back the ability to create jobs. the private sector is not doing it may, let me ask about the economist, as we had on a few weeks ago, dean baker. he said the whole fiscal cliff
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issue is way overblown, that come january 1st, yes, we will be subject to higher tax withholding rates but not a lot of people are paid on january 1. if a deal is worked out in the first or second week of january, we will probably not see any extra deductions from our paycheck. and if we do, you'll get it back in the second paycheck. what is your response? >> dean baker is right. but let's be clear about one thing. if the white house understands one thing, it is behavior economics. they basically cut their teeth on the liberal economics in coming in and try to induce people to believe things are better when they are when they're not. this whole fiscal cliff discussion while it may have its imaginary dimensions, has a real effect. you're seeing a decline in confidence. there will be a slowdown in the economy. it is true the country can
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cobble together a deal in the new year, but in the meantime, there will be a lag in which you will see an economy that is already weak further weakened. but i want to go back to something. we have to start creating jobs. this debt-based economic system where the next discussion is 16 -- $16.4 trillion, will we not only over the cliff but in default is the wrong discussion. why aren't we creating jobs using the government's inherit power undeunder the constitution that we spend money to rebuild the infrastructure, put millions of people back to work, create new tax payers and you don't have to worry so much about unemployment benefits that are due to expire. it is the wrong discussion we are having. as we look into the new year, we got a couple of things going. there is a decrease in
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confidence in government. this is no longer about democrats or republicans. it is about the failure of the government to respond to the aspirations of people for jobs, housing, health care, retirement security and the education of their children. we are still there, yet we're still pursuing wars abroad and doing military buildups. this is the direction america is going, and it is the wrong direction. >> congressman, your colleagues, your republican colleagues in the house have a different perspective. speaking on fox news, mike mulvaney of south carolina blamed the democratic-led senate for the impasse in negotiations on the so-called fiscal cliff while speaking on fox news. >> the house has extended these tax rates for everybody in the entire country, which is exactly the correct policy as we see it. the senate has refused to take it up. the senate could fix it today if they wanted to.
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but interest in while harry reid is in the well today and the senate complaining about mr. boehner, he has not this -- is not scheduled a discussion today on the fiscal cliff, which is absurd rid the house has done its job in the senate could fix this today if they wanted to. >> that was mike mulvaney of south carolina. >> it has to be translated. what the republicans want to advocate is the continuation of bush tax cuts, which everyone knows added $1 trillion to the deficit by helping to accelerate and helped to accelerate the wealth of america up words. we cannot do that anymore. although we're seeing some elements of bush tax cuts are remaining depending on the income distribution for those who are in the middle class. how is it we can be talking about tax cuts at the same time we have this massive deficit? we are getting the american people to believe we can cut
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taxes, increase military spending, and balance the budget. that is kind of what they talked about during the reagan administration and ended up with a huge hidden deficit, beginning to bloom once the administration's came in. we have to change our economy. we have to emphasize job creation. and then investors can come back in and you can start to see consumer confidence building. but right now we are limping as a nation. our politics are being translated into some kind of punch and judy show between democrats and republicans. we don't need that. we have got to help real people. we have to keep people in their homes, did not only unemployment benefits passed the people back to work. why are we not emphasizing that? that is why this whole debate about the fiscal cliff, as steve baker says, has elements that are commerical. >> congressman, in your response, you link the war
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machine to the battles at home over domestic spending. could you talk about your efforts to gather with congressman ron paul to demand an inquiry into the justification of drone attacks? >> absolutely. this whole idea of drone wars in proliferated across the world without congress having anything to say about it, without any accountability whatsoever, is against the constitution of the united states and against international law. if any other nation sent a drawn over the u.s., they would have hell to pay, we would see it as an act of war. we are increasingly committing acts of war against other nations -- yemen most recently -- and we're not seeing any accountability at all. congress has a role to play both
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on the budget side and constitutionally. so we're just trying to get the ministration involved in getting information to congress so we can see the extent of exposure the american people have to this proliferation of war. as news articles have written, and glenn greenwald read about it yesterday, we're strengthening al qaeda's hand with these attacks. we're making it more difficult to meet the challenge of terrorism by creating more terrorists. what is this about? we are increasingly dysfunctional as a nation because of our unwillingness to challenge the military in strial complex, which what eisenhower warned about generations ago. we really have to look at america's role in the world. we have a right to defend ourselves, but no right to a grass. we continue to aggress and it is
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as a cause -- at a cost to our selves. we are thoroughly it mired in an economy that is based on guns. this budget in this fiscal cliff in no way gets into that debate. >> we want to ask about another bill, the fisa bill. we're going to go to break and come back to congress member dennis kucinich who served eight terms in congress. this is his last week as a member of congress. this is "democracy now!" back in a moment. ♪ [music break]
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>> she died wednesday at the age of 72 after complications from heart attack. this is "democracy now!," democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. >> while the so-called fiscal cliff has dominated the news headlines, the senate is preparing to vote today to continue a controversial
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domestic surveillance program. in a blow to civil liberties advocate, the senate rejected three attempts thursday to add oversight and privacy safeguards to the foreign intelligence surveillance act. >> dennis kucinich is still with us, outgoing democratic congress member. this will be his last week in congress -- at least for this term of his political life. congressmember kucinich, the issue of fisa. what is this bill and what does it mean? >> what it reflects is a breakdown in trust in this country. the attempt is to give the government even more powers to spy. that is really being translated into domestic "intelligence." even though it is called the foreign intelligence bill. we have to ask questions. why, for example, did you of the occupy wall street movement being spied upon?
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what is going on in our country where we don't have oversight of the activities of the government when it comes to domestic spying? what are we doing in america where the privacy concerns of americans are swept aside? we're entering into a brave new world, which involves not only the government apparatus being able to look at massive databases and extract information to try to profile people who might be considered threats to the prevailing order to the status quo, but also looking at drones which are increasingly miniaturized that will give the government at every level more of an ability to look into people's private, that. this is a nightmare. the fisa bill is just one
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example of how america is going in a direction that undermines the expectations of not just the right to privacy, but the right to be freof unreasonable search and seizure, the demand that any action taken to get information about people should be subject to a warrant, that it not be subject to just any fbi agent determining this is information they want on that person. this is bad news. >> congressmember kucinich, not just what do you say to your natural opponents, the republicans in congress, but to our allies, a democratic congress members who you almost , and many of these cases from drones to fisa, a pose as much as the republicans? what message you have for them as you leave congress? >> we have seen a bridge created between democrats and republicans on the issue of
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liberty and being free from the all seeing eye of big brother. congressman paul together and i -- and i were together on many of these issues of surveiling the american people. it no longer is a democrat or republican issue. it goes much deeper than that. in a way, these debates we're having right now in washington show the limitations of our two- party system. the two-party system itself is failing the american people, that there really are not enough choices not just individuals, but policies reflecting the direction america should be billing. when we find in a post 9/11 america that we are mired in a condition of fear, when we see the massive amounts of spending that has gone for war and
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increased military buildups, and for expansion of spy agencies like the domestic intelligence agency which is just adding another 1600 spies of the pentagon can have their own spy agency to compete with, what, the cia abroad? when you see the interventions that have fallen flat and have been disastrous such as libya and benghazi, when you see a cut a growing in strength because of our own -- al qaeda growing in strength because of our own misapplication of force, you have to ask, if this is about democrat and republican, the system is failing. we are seeing evidence of a fiscally and also in foreign policy and evidence of it domestically when you can see a surveillance state arising under the noses of both political parties and. >> you talk about your alliance with ron paul. both of you are leaving. this is your last days in congress, at least this time.
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so who are your successors, who you see in congress right now who will carry on these struggles for privacy, against drones? >> i would hope people i have worked with in the past like barbara lee, alan grayson and others would continue the efforts. there are people on both sides of the aisle which expressed concern. you have to remember we put together a very powerful coalition in challenging the war in libya that was a collision between democrats and republicans that reflects a new concern about where is america going? why are we letting the president or the white house determine that we should expand war? we don't even involve congress anymore. i think you are going to see continued efforts.
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the question is, the strength of it. and the question is, as a function of the work of political parties, why political parties have essentially been outside of this debate over civil liberties? why have the parties watched as the skirmishes that go on inside congress are really not emboldened by the support of either side of the aisle in some official party structure? that is what i'm saying. as we look toward a new year, we may be looking at two things. number one, within each party, you may see more primaries. so we may see people decide that instead of being independence, they want to be party animals and bring the challenge right inside the republican and democratic parties. or on the alternative, you may see a third political wave
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movement that rises from discussed of the inability of parties to discuss the aspirations of american people. >> i am wondering now, congressman, 16 years in the house, prior to that mayor of cleveland, at any misgivings about things you are not able to accomplish? were in the same way, pride and things you were able to accomplish, especially in the house, all these years you have been seen as the conscience of the house? >> it is really unfortunate the democratic leadership in the house did not support an impeachment effort to challenge the bush administration. mr. bush and mr. cheney. on the lies that took us into war in iraq. that was a pivotal moment for
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this country. instead of choosing the constitution, our leaders chose politics. bad choice. the fact is, today, after a decade of war, we are looking at individual bill for the iraq war of $5 trillion. we're looking as perhaps 1 million innocent civilians perishing. for a war that was based on lies. people have to remember this. it is not just forget about the past. no, you cannot forget about the past. we went to war based on lies. i did my part, which was to alert congress back in october 2002, look, we're headed into a war and there is no proof iraq has anything to do with 9/11 or has weapons of mass destruction.
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but we were pulled into that by the bush administration driven by neocons and the projecothers. that set the stage for where we are today. we are -- if there is such a thing as a fiscal cliff, we are at the edge of it because of trillions of dollars that will be spent for wars based on lies. and there's never any accountability. if there is one thing we have to do -- america needs a time of truth and reconciliation if we're ever going to put the country back together and achieve unity that we are capable of. but right now we're living a lie in the line is, this whole national secure infrastructure is necessary and necessary for us to keep expanding the war around the world and necessary for us to have been spy agencies, which also interact domestically, and as all should not have happened. we made the wrong choices. this is a problem for both
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political parties to resolve. you have to look at the severe impact at our inability to act, to challenge the lies that took us into war. you have to look at where it has left us. >> why is it, it seems like so few tea party republicans can control the republican party in congress and that the largest caucus of the democratic party in congress, the progressive caucus, has so little to affect or say? >> first of all, for those who are doing the daily work inside the progressive caucus, they should be appreciated. and congressman ellison, they have done a decent job of keeping the progressive agenda out front. however, some members will choose affiliation with the progressive caucus as kind of a
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social function more than a political function. so the membership of the caucus belies the fact wants democrats are voting on the floor of the house -- it does not matter what caucus is involved in -- it is like a social thing. what matters is their responding to the aspirations of the constituents. and that is why it -- go back to what i said a moment ago. maybe instead of people going outside the party and saying, a curse on both your houses, that we get people coming back inside the party and bring primary challenges for and both sides of the aisle to shake up the political equations of that party is really do reflect a little more of the involvement of the aspirations of people at a local level. the tea party knew what they were out to do. but the democratic party has not shown the same kind of discipline or willingness to take a stand on some of these basic issues that ought to
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describe who we are, like social security, single payer healthcare, keeping people in their homes, fully employed economy, like ending the military buildups and the war machine. there is still plenty of room for us within the party to negotiate that people feel they're still a chance to do that. >> congressmember kucinich, news of another shooting in camden county, new jersey. three police officers shot. it looks like there are no deaths. the shooting happened around 5:45 eastern time this morning. the power of the nra and also, do you see yourself getting involved with third-party politics as you leave? what are your plans? >> i would love to be in two- party politics, but we don't really have that right now. ubiquitousness of violence in
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our society is not just about guns. we have to look about the culture of violence we have in america and deal with it in a way that is not about beating up ourselves, but we have to look at the spectrum of domestic violence, like spousal abuse, gang violence, gun violence, racial violence, guns against gays. in doing that, that is why i called for the department of peace years ago not simply to create another department, but have an organized approach nationally to deal with the violence in a society to help families to with the tensions they have at home, to do with some of the fundamental attitudes people have liked boys may have about girls, you know, to education. we need to take a new approach. frankly, we can get rid of all guns and we're still going to have violence. .'ve never supported the nra
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i probably have a zero rating with them. but the fact is, we've to take a much broader view. the debate is too narrow. we need to look at the cultural issues that are real. when you talk about gun control here in america and at the same time you're talking about gun expansion across the world about not only the u.s. exporting arms to the world, but our own efforts proliferating wars, that is kind of a mixed message that inevitably is not easily reconciled. we need to build a culture of peace in america. is it possible? of course it is. violence is a learned response, and so is nonviolence. through education and creating a social health safety net, i think we can meet the challenge. that is one of the things i will certainly be involved and as i leave the congress to try to broaden the date to look at this at a way that is compassionate and at the same
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time not blaming ourselves but recognizing that we have a culture that is very violent and affects americans at every level. and if we address that in a systematic way through organized approach using resources and assets at all levels of government, i think we can find a way to change from where we are today with this dismal record of one shooting after another and all the innocent people and public servants being under attack. >> congressmember kucinich, thank you for being with us. dennis kucinich, eight-term congress member from ohio, serving his last because a member of congress. we look forward to talking to you in your new capacity, whenever that will be. this is "democracy now!," democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. when we come back, we look att the wilmington 10. why are so many calling on the north carolina governor to pardon them. we urge you to listen. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
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>> she died wednesday at the age of 72. this is "democracy now!," democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. >> we turn now to the case of the wilmington 10. as a new year approaches, civil- rights activists are making a last-ditch push for north carolina governor bev perdue to pardon a group of civil rights activists who were falsely convicted and imprisoned in the city of wilmington over 40 years ago. on thursday, supporters delivered more than 130,000 petition signatures to the governor is rep. at the press conference, the state naacp president rev. william barber said it is not too late to right a wrong. what we come here after advent and christmas and believing north carolina can turn this tragic history into a triumph, a
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time of redemption and repentance. >> the case of the wilmington 10 goes back to 1971 when the city of wilmington was in the midst of a civil-rights struggle. after a white-owned grocery store and a black neighborhood was firebombed, police saucers and firefighters arrived to extinguish the flames but came under gunfire. an african-american teen was killed by police that night and a white man was shot and killed the next day. the national guard moved in. nine black man and one white women -1 one woman or rounded up and hustled off to jail for their alleged involvement in the event. the young defendants were collectively sentenced to a total of more than 280 years of prison. december 1980, the federal fourth court of appeals ordered a new trial and overturned the zero original conviction. the court on the prosecutor had reason to know his chief witness had repeatedly perjured himself on the stand rid the court, prosecutor had bribed witnesses and obfuscated evidence.
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amnesty international has called the wilmington 10 american political prisoners. the case recently regained public attention in light of newly rediscovered notes attributed to the prosecutor, jay stroud. the notes indicate stroud used racial profiling and other unethical tactics to disqualify black jurors in favor of racist jurors who would almost certainly find the defendants guilty. for example, stroud wrote next to the name of a prospective juror the words, "kkk good." >> of the wilmington 10, four had already died and others are battling illness. their supporters are now asking governor perdue to once and for all clear their names and restore their dignity. for more, we're joined by one of the wilmington 10, ben chavis. byvideo screen, we're joined james ferguson, the defense for the wilmington 10. in north carolina, joined by
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cash michaels, the court and for the wilmington 10 pardons of innocence project and a reporter for the wilmington journal where his been covering the case. then chavis, you served how many years in prison for your conviction and the wilmington 10 case? >> it was about five years. >> what would a part in mean? what's a pardon of innocence would mean the state of north carolina finally realizes the unjust arrest, charges, were all racially and politically motivated. it is time to 40 years later for the state to move this pain from that members of the community and from the state itself. it has been an albatross around this state's net for over 40 years. i think in the spirit of moving forward -- the federal courts to
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overturn the conviction in 1980. there is no question about our convictions. it has already been overturn. the state should remove the legacy of injustice, the legacy of inequality. we were trying to get the schools desegregated. the wilmington 10 was a scapegoat did. all of the information that came out shows we were completely innocent of these charges, there for a pardon of innocence is more than justified for governor perdue to issue. >> benjamin chavis, in terms of this new evidence, the notes of the prosecutor, were you surprised the extent to which there was this effort to frame you? >> we were not surprised the prosecutor did everything it could even though we are innocent of the charges.
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there is irrefutable evidence in the prosecutor's own words and handwriting of the frame up of the wilmington 10. when people are framed up, that means you put innocent people in jail who should never have been charged, never been prosecuted, never in prison and never should have taken 44 years -- people are supposed to be innocent until proven guilty. for 40 years, the wilmington 10 have had to prove their innocence. >> cash michaels, your court matter for the wilmington 10 cartons of innocence project. talk about the innocence of these latest notes, and what the prosecutor is saying even today. >> it is funny, i have never covered a case where we have more evidence against the prosecutor then we do against those who have been tried, convicted, and sentenced to prison. indeed, jay stroud and u.s. fourth circuit court of appeals
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pretty much says since december 1980, one of the reasons all of the convictions of the wilmington 10 were overturned is because the fourth circuit pretty much said there is prosecutorial misconduct. they did not see the information we came up with 32 years later. they based their judgment on the fact the three witnesses against the wilmington 10 all admitted they were lying. the fact the star witness, allen hall who is now deceased, actually not only lied but had a mental disorder that was never disclosed to the defense -- i am sure attorney ferguson can speak more to that -- and the witnesses were paid. one witness was given a motorbike. allen hall was put up at the beach college and his girlfriend was brought there and they were under guard. we're talking about incredible malfeasance here. and to see this and realize that
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10 human beings, attend american citizens and our nation, four now deceased, have lost the last 40 years of their lives because of what one man did not because they're guilty of anything -- the wilmington 10 are innocent. they are innocent of any and all charges against them. but because it took a political stance and a very racially charged time. this is just three years after the death of dr. martin luthein king jr.. the south was still going through a transition in terms of tension. the white power structure did not want to give cede any power to the african-american community in terms of civil rights. this is what we end up with. governor perdue yesterday in an interview with a local television station said it is clear what the prosecutor did was wrong, but that did not mean they were innocent. and we're here to say to governor perdue, look at all of the facts. look at this case and realize
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the facts are in front of you. the wilmington 10 are innocent of any and all charges. >> the prosecutor jay stroud has not denied these notes were his. could you talk a little bit about how he justifies them and what has happened to him in terms of his run and with a lot after he left the prosecutor's office? >> in terms of the nose, unbeknownst to us in october of this year, and jay stroud called the starnews -- the national newspaper of the black press of which the wilmington journal is a part of, they initiated in 2011 to try to get pardons of innocence for the wilmington 10. the black press has been all over the store for the better part of the year before the mainstream picked up on it. as a result of our efforts, j. starr -- jay stroud asked starnews, could you see what
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the file is all about? he came up there and they showed it to him read he admitted, this is my handwriting, these are my records. what he says is the jury selection papers you see, the kkk good did not mean kkk good, it was just an indication these people may be members of the kkk and may not want them on the jury. i don't understand why he would put "good" next to their names. in terms of looking for uncle tom type jurors, he was looking for conservative blacks, blacks who could be fair. so he had some kind of notion the research and types of juries he wanted on the case. when you show the legal pad or he did not get the jury that he wanted, it did not get the jury he wanted, and the back of the legal pad he draws to lines and then he writes, advantages and
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disadvantages of mistrial. he calculates as to whether or not he should throw the first trial in june 1972 with the express purpose of getting both the judge and jury he feels he needs in the second trial in september 1972. you are correct, in the last couple of years, jay stroud, a former prosecutor, has been disbarred, picked up on various charges from assault to disorderly conduct. and he says in an interview with the starnews that he's completely innocent of any and every time he has been arrested on these charges. >> you are talking about the prosecutor. >> james ferguson, talk about your efforts to try to get the governor to issue a pardon of innocence in this case and the importance of getting that part and in terms of setting the record straight and righting wrongs that occurred in north carolina during that timeframe.
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>> the governor has the power and she alone has the power to issue pardons of innocence to every one of the wilmington 10. i emphasize pardons of innocence. in contrast to a parting of forgiveness. there's been some talk about the governor considering a pardon of forgiveness. that would be nothing more than a reaffirmation of the guilt of the wilmington 10 in the face of this outrageous prosecution that has now come to light. we're calling upon the governor, before she leaves office, to act, to give some relief and to restore some dignity and reputation of these young people who are convicted in 1972 for no reason other than there were protesting the desegregation process. there were protesting that and
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because they were protesting that, they wound up being charged with these heinous offenses and having to live with that for the last 40 years. we're asking the governor simply to do the right thing, not to be governed by politics or swayed by those who simply want to see this injustice continue, but to look at the evidence in front of it. all of which says the wilmington 10 or innocence and the evidence upon which there convicted was perjured evidence, was for dissipated by both the prosecution and even the court and getting this perjurer -- the state had and still has the right to try them again. the state has not lifted a finger. there have only the perjured testimony of those three witnesses.
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there is no other testimony or evidence in this case to link the wilmington 10 to the crime was committed. they're completely innocent. we simply call upon the governor to declare that and set the record straight so we can begin 40 years later the healing process of racial division that has plagued this community and will and 10 cents the 1800's. >> at james ferguson, huddie and the -- that the any indication -- >> it is not a federal conviction. the president of the on the states does not have direct authority to do that. the governor of dr. lannan is given that power by the constitution of the united states. we have no indication what the governor will do other than what she said in her interview yesterday, which is that anybody looking at this prosecution knows it was unfair and it was
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unjust. she needs to take the next up and say anybodyy looking into this prosecution can see they're centnoeo pple convicted on the basis of perjured testimony by an unfair jury. the fourth person of which stated before she served vichy the only one who can correct this wrong. >> benjamin chavis, the sentences have already been overturned why is this so important to you? >> the wilmington 10 were not treated fairly, not treated constitutionally. we were framed. it is very important not only for members of the wilmington 10, but all america. no one, black, white, no one should be framed and sent to prison if you're innocent.
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until the wrong is righted, the members of the wilmington 10 will not rest. all people who live in the united states of america. >> benjamin chavis, a ticket for being with us, cash michaels and ferguson. we will link to all of your reports democracynow.org. we encourage you to tune in monday and tuesday for our year- end specials but on monday, culture and resistance as we look back at our cultural coverage from the past year featuring the voices of everyone from alice walker to randy weston, steve earle, randall robinson and many others. on new year's day, we look at the events of 2012, a year of extreme weather, big guns and in
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